Plenty have tried to adapt popular video game series into movies or television shows, but only a handful have been able to find success when doing so.
Many popular video game series have been adapted over the years, resulting in countless movies, anime, and television shows. Not all of them have been successful though. In fact, for every good video game adaptation there seem to be more than twice as many bad ones, with some series and storylines just being a lot better suited to the change in mediums than others.
The nineties and early two-thousands were particularly prolific when it came to bad adaptations, though things have thankfully improved quite a bit since then. Granted, there have still been plenty of atrocious attempts at adapting games over the past decade or so, but the post-2010 era is also when most of the best video game adaptations came to be.
It's perhaps a little premature to be calling HBO's The Last of Us one of the best video game adaptations of all time. However, it's difficult to think of too many other video game adaptations that have been as universally praised as the post-apocalyptic series; both by critics and by viewers.
It certainly helps that the video game series is one of the most successful of all time, with the two games selling tens of millions of copies and winning countless awards between them. A big part of that success is down to the story, which the show seems destined to follow faithfully. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey make for a believable Joel and Ellie too, while the show's creators manage to recreate the tone and atmosphere that punctuated the iconic action-adventure series.
The Witcher may not be the most faithful video game adaptation available on Netflix, but it's certainly one of the most entertaining. Henry Cavill does an excellent job of playing the titular Witcher and is backed up by a strong supporting cast, which includes Anya Chalotra, Joey Batey, and the fantastic Freya Allan.
For as entertaining as the show is though, it's difficult not to wonder what might have been had Netflix hired a writing team that better understood and respected the source material. Their apparent disregard for Andrzej Sapkowski's work is far from enough to ruin the experience for fans of the franchise, but it does hold the show back a little at times.
Those looking for a like-for-like adaptation of Capcom's Resident Evil franchise will likely be left a little disappointed by the Paul W. S. Anderson movie series. However, anyone looking for a healthy dose of tension and suspense mixed together with a spattering of gore and violence can definitely find all that here; and plenty of it, too.
With seven movies having been made prior to the 2021 reboot, it should go without saying that there are plenty of highs and lows. On balance, though, most would probably agree that the former comfortably outweigh the latter, pushing the movies into must-watch territory for fans of survival horror games and the Resident Evil franchise as a whole.
When the first images of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie were released, fans of the blue blur were quite rightly alarmed by the state of Sonic. To the credit of those behind the movie though, it all came together in the end, resulting in a charming and highly-entertaining adventure that helped to show that not all video game adaptations have to be bad.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the success of the movie led to a sequel being greenlit, with several more fan-favorite Sonic characters being introduced as a result. It also seems to have played a part in Nintendo's decision to have another stab at making a Mario movie, though whether Sonic's former rival can find success on the silver screen remains to be seen.
The Shenmue series is often praised for its cutting-edge innovation and the important role that it played in the popularization of open-world video games. It also has some fantastic characters though, not to mention a classic revenge story that made it the perfect candidate for an anime adaptation.
Released a year or two on from the series' long-awaited third installment, Shenmue: The Animation was one of the best anime of 2022. It remains remarkably faithful to the source material, with the team behind the project clearly going to great lengths in order to do justice to Yu Suzuki's highly ambitious series.
Given how many great narrative-driven video games there are these days, it was perhaps a little surprising to see Netflix greenlight a Castlevania adaptation. Granted, the themes explored throughout the games are certainly exciting ones, but the small amount of story that they feature left the show's writing team with an awful lot of heavy lifting to do.
Thankfully for viewers, the team was able to craft an exciting and engaging narrative, which was then brought alive by some wonderfully well-written characters. Trevor, Alucard, and Sypha are all excellent, but it is arguably some of the show's supporting cast like Lenore, Hector, and Isaac that really help to elevate the series from a good one to a great one.
There's a remarkable amount of synergy when it comes to the Pokemon franchise. From the countless spin-off games to the many theatrical releases, everything just seems to fit together seamlessly, making it one of the most marketable IPs in existence. The Pokemon anime is a prime example of this and has been entertaining both kids and adults alike for more than a quarter of a century now.
Having seemingly started life as little more than a tool with which to sell the games and other Pokemon merchandise, the anime has grown into an entirely different beast. It's able to evoke a wide array of emotions in viewers and features a cast of loveable characters who have been with many of the show's audience for a significant portion of their lives.
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Tom loves adventure games and RPGs, but is also partial to a spot of FIFA from time to time.